Environmental Programs Steering Committee

April 29, 1999

2014 Duncan 9:15-11am


  • Kathy Ensor
  • Arthur Few
  • Paul Harcombe
  • Priscilla Huston (staff)
  • Walter Isle (chair)
  • Bill Leeman
  • Donald Ostdiek

Not Present:

  • Joyce Almaguer
  • Bill Leeman
  • Gordon Wittenberg
  • Mark Wiesner


  • Rick Stoll


1. Next Meeting date

The next meeting is May 6th 9:15-11am in 2014 Duncan Hall. This will be a planning meeting.

We will be joined on May 13th by the student's from UNIV 303, Paul Harcombe and Don Ostdiek's class. Given the size of the group, we will meet in 133B Anderson Biology Lab.

2. Announcement

The EPSC is invited to join the Environmental Reading Group for lunch May 5th at the Faculty Club to discuss readings about the dialog between cultures (Science and Humanities) and plan for next year.

3. Rick Stoll -- Guest

Walter Isle introduced Rick Stoll to the Environmental Programs Steering Committee activities. He talked about our meeting with the Deans of Science and Engineering, our focus on curriculum but also the importance of research, and our interest in understanding the potential relationships with the Baker Institute.

Rick indicated that he had been thinking of us as organizing curriculum and had not thought of us in relation to projects, research, policy, etc. He talked about:

1) Trans-national policy projects

2) grants for specific projects

3) Regional theme studies (group of faculty with related interest and some cooperation)

We talked specifically about the Health Policy Project, Al Tarloff, several local institutions, etc.

We discussed the value of ideas coming from faculty as well as having faculty respond to important topics.

Rick suggested that a 2-3 page proposal with a 5 line budget might be able to make something really important happen. There might also be opportunities for pre-grant funding and preparation.

Several of the members of the committee feel there is a good fit with Environmental Policy as an umbrella. The EPSC has talked about a Houston-Galveston area focus (perhaps water or air quality) or an opportunity to take students to another part of the world for a summer educational experience.

Rick explained the financial independence of the Baker Institute and the approach of charging 25% overhead.

Paul Harcombe discussed a topic such as Environmental Implications of Energy. Rick Stoll reminded us that we do not have to settle on one thing but could actually spawn several.

Al Tarloff is coming in September and we might want to meet with him so he will learn about us and we will learn about his approaches.

4. Biosphere 2 Tuition Problem

Walter Isle reported that it looks as if the gap between Rice Tuition and 27% of Columbia's is a Rice problem which we need to solve by at least clarifying it. It was pointed out that the fact that Rice charges various tuitions depending on class and that Columbia does not announce its tuition until after application deadlines add to the confusion. Priscilla will draw up a table of tuition and other expenses at both places. Then we can figure out how to present and deal with the situation. Financial Aid may be a possibility.

5. Student Internships

Rod McIntosh had mentioned an opportunity for US Forest Service Interns. The question was raised if this is really a better deal than other agencies. The NSF student research opportunities were mentioned along with a sense that there seems to be a lack of student interest in summer research opportunities. Perhaps the EPSC can play a role in seeing that faculty and students are informed about these opportunities in environmental programs.

6. Future

Several topics will be on the agenda for the next meeting:

1) replacing and/or adding EPSC committee members

2) the large number of Rice faculty with environmental interests that will be away all or part of next year

3) creating a Center for the Environment

4) the environmental reading group

5) remind ourselves what our real goals are:

  • to figure out what our students need from other parts of campus
  • to figure out what we can give to students in other areas